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  1. Default Yosemite to Death Valley

    Hi there,
    I am new to the Forum and am going to visit California for my Honey moon in April-May.

    I've read the threads about Yosemite, Death Valley and HW395.

    If I am right, at the beginning of may SR120 will be closed and I'll have only 2 possibilities:

    - from north, getting to Lake TAhoe and then to death valley through Hw395

    I think this way is too long to be run in one day (right?): If I could divide in two legs, where do you suggest to stop for the night?
    Is the road from El Portal to Lake Tahoe (Hw50/88) a beautyfull road?


    -going south via Fresno
    How many hours does it take?
    What are the main attractions?
    Is it possible to see Sequoia Park (just a look..) and then reach death valley in the day?

    Hope you can help us.
    Thank you,
    Emilia & Andrea (Italy)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Lots of Ideas Here

    Quote Originally Posted by andrea71
    I am new to the Forum and am going to visit California for my Honeymoon in April-May.
    Congratulations on the pending wedding and Welcome to the Forum!
    I've read the threads about Yosemite, Death Valley and HW395.
    You must have been busy, there about 400 such threads -- this is a very POPULAR topic on this Forum.
    If I am right, at the beginning of may SR120 will be closed and I'll have only 2 possibilities:
    It would be an extremely odd year to have Tioga Pass open in either April or May.
    - from north, getting to Lake TAhoe and then to death valley through Hw395
    Actually there are a couple of passes both to the north and south of Yosemite that could enable passage without going all the way to Lake Tahoe or south to Bakersfield. This post spells them all out.
    I think this way is too long to be run in one day (right?): If I could divide in two legs, where do you suggest to stop for the night? Is the road from El Portal to Lake Tahoe (Hw50/88) a beautyfull road?
    No matter which way you go, if you can break the trip into two parts, you will have a nicer drive. However, El Portal is no where near US-Hwy-50. El Portal is SW of Yosemite NP. Are you staying overnight at El Portal or??? US-50 is a beautiful drive -- but is subject to avalanche closures in April and May (these rarely take more than a couple of hours to clear).
    Is it possible to see Sequoia Park (just a look..) and then reach death valley in the day?
    Yes, and here is a field report from the area. From Death Valley where are you going?

    Mark

  3. #3
    travel_monkeys Guest

    Default highway 395

    In early May the only east-west roads crossing the Sierras will probably be I-80 and US-50. Yes, 50 is a pretty road, although not as pretty as 8, 108 or 4, all of which will probably be closed. I'd check the California highway condition page before you leave though to be sure.
    Doing Lake Tahoe and Death Valley in one day is a stretch. The drive itself is definitely doable in one day, but you wouldn't have much time to sightsee in between at that's a shame because there are some great spots. You've probably heard about some of this stuff already but here goes.
    Check out Bodie State Historic Park near Bridgeport along 395. It's by far the best preserved authentic old west ghost town in the country. Also, a must-see is Mono Lake, a large crater shaped lake near the town of Lee Vining along 395. The tufa (carbonate) formations jutting up from the lake are bizarre, and the lake surrounded by mountains is really a beautiful setting, especially at sunrise and sunset. Next, check out the Mt. Whitney portal road near the town of Lone Pine. It's a 15 mile road off of 395 that takes you up to the base of Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the US outside Alaska. The view from the east side of the Sierras is stunning - there's a 15,000 foot elevation gain in under 10 miles.
    Depending on how far south you go on 395, check out Manzanar Historic Site. It's the site of one of the Japanese internment camps from WWII, and there's a good museum on the internment (concentration camp) program from that era.
    I'm a little confused as for the route you're planning to take between Tahoe and Death Valley. One option is 395 where you can see the things I mentioned here. The other option is to take highway 50 across the Sierras and then head south to Yosemite and Sequioa. It is an extremely long drive to go all the way west and south to Sequioa and then wrap around to Death Valley. That may not be possible in TWO days. It's just that there's not really any roads that cross the mountains in that area. You'd have to go all the way south to 178 or 58. Also, be aware that there's not much scenery to see at Sequioa until summer unless they open the roads to Mineral King and Kings Canyon early. If you want to check out the redwoods you can though.
    I live in California and have done a lot of travelling around here, and personally my advice is head down 395. The east side of the Sierras is more interesting that the west side, there's more to see, and it's easier access to Death Valley, which is very much worth visiting.
    I hope some of this helps.

  4. Default

    Hi Everybody,
    thanks for your precious advice.
    Our first plan was to sleep in El Portal for Yosemite and in Fournace Creek for Death Valley.
    we are now thinking to change our plan, and may be to choose to visit Bryce, Gran Canyon and Lake Powell instead of seeing Yosemite and DV.
    Several people suggested us to come for the original trip in summer.
    We have still some days to decide what to do in April and to check the alternative trip from Las Vegas.
    Thank You,
    Emilia e Andrea

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